Herbivore hook-up sites have been around for years now, but until recently I've not heard much from my vegan friends about them. Like everyone else, they mostly stick to Tinder, or Bumble, or talking to real people with their mouths.
As a vegan myself, I wondered if the record amount of people apparently doing "Veganuary" this year might prompt an uptick in the number of people using these apps. To investigate, I decided to sign up to a few them and have a flick through in the hope I'd find a more compassionate, animal-friendly partner or whatever it is people use these things for.
First up, I downloaded Hunny Bee, which is basically a shit Bumble. I found it weird they named the app after a food vegans actively avoid, but then remembered I'm a bad vegan who sometimes eats honey, shrugged and moved on.
Since the app is monetised, you’re encouraged to fill your "Hunny Pot" with coins at the cost of $5 per 500. You can spend 100 coins to "superlike" someone, or splash out 200 coins to turn on your "read receipts" and be disappointed by people you’ve never even met not replying to you.
Since I was there to find a date, not manage my finances, I passed on this and got to work filling out my profile.
I needn’t have bothered, since barely anyone uses this thing, which I learned after ten minutes spent staring at a photo of myself refreshing behind the words "No one around you".
Four guys did eventually pop up, who I swiped right on for the sake of it, but none messaged me. They must have smelt the Honey Nut Shredded Wheat on my breath.
PROBABILITY OF FINDING LOVE: None. There’s literally more chance of me shoplifting a steak from Tesco and eating it raw in the car park.
Next was the Veggie Romance site, the design of which is as appealing as the inside of a slaughterhouse. It looks more like an online pharmacy that sells "prescription free" Xanax than a forum for potential lovers to meet each other.
I needed a drink just to get through the ordeal that was setting up my profile, since they demand you write a thesis on your life before you’re even allowed to browse potential dates. Do I like velvet? Have I got any issues with cobblestones? What about grapefruit – will I eat that? All things I’m sure people are dying to know about me.
Most of the guys I came across clearly went to town filling this crap out, and the best I could do to stop me losing the will to live was skim-read their profiles at 50mph. This taught me that all kinds of men do vegan dating, not just animal rights activists who practice Qigong and look like they’re harvesting E. coli in their dreadlocks.
I found men doing jobs you’d expect: zookeepers, vets, climatologists, molecular plant biologists, musicians; and those you might not: doctors, space engineers, computer technicians, econometricians and even jiu-jitsu champions.
None of the men with cool jobs appeared to be particularly active on the site, which is when I realised Veggieromance.com is where the elderly and infirm come to mate. Most of the men who messaged me were old. So old they’d say things like: "I do hope this message finds you well."
Others were creepy. One looked like he might lure me to his bedsit, cut me up and make me into a literal vegan burger. Another was way too concerned with ending up "on the nonce register" than your average online dater. If the ethically-sourced shoe fits, my friend…
PROBABILITY OF FINDING LOVE: Very slim. If you’re nearing death but have just enough days left to read through tomes of drivel, you might have some luck.
Just as I was about to give up I found a vegan dating experience that wasn’t totally tragic. Grazer is just like Tinder, but not yet monetised, and none of the people on it want to ingest something that’s had a stun gun shoved up its bum.
With hundreds of profiles at my fingertips, I quickly learned there’s one thing these guys like, and that’s animals. Cats, dogs, cows, goats, rabbits, mice, sloths and even sharks… as long as they can get near it and take a selfie for their dating profile, they’re stoked.
Their other passion appeared to be vegetables, with perishable groceries featuring heavily among the profiles.
This guy was probably thinking he could ward off unhealthy vegans who exist on a diet of 60 percent Oreos. I was thinking of sad nights in together eating soup that’ll make your piss smell of asparagus.
I wanted to believe ol' avocado eyes here was just a fan of fruits masquerading as salad, and not trying to disguise his identity because he already has a girlfriend, but this is online dating, so…
He is obviously just eating a fucking lettuce whole. In case you forgot where you were.
I sort of had to admire Mr Quaker Oats. If a guy's just stuck porridge oats to his face and has the cheek to call it a fancy dress outfit, you know he’s got guts.
Everybody knows most men on dating apps are only after one thing, and Grazer is no exception. Around every third guy I found was obsessed with hummus (various spellings).
The weird food fetishes continued with this man, who wants to douse his lovers in oat milk.
I also found a load of profiles that reminded me vegan guys are still guys at the end of the day, and therefore not immune to being gross and slightly lewd on the internet.
Not eating animals, but eating ass and/or pussy was a line I saw a lot of.
Once the matches started rolling in, so did the chat-up lines. Vegans are surprisingly creative with their opening remarks. Must be the omega-3 in all the avocados they’ve been mainlining.
Ice broken, there was one thing they wanted to know: how long had I been vegan for? That’s the currency around here, as if the longer you’ve managed to go without eating something from an abattoir, the better wife and mother you’d be. Which, actually, is quite logical tbf.
Next, they demanded I tell them my favourite vegan eateries. Every time I’d mention a restaurant they hadn’t been to they’d segue into inviting me on a date there. When I stopped replying, some got a bit arsey. They all really wanted that fake fried chicken from Temple of Seitan.
All I needed to know about them, though, was why they were here, swiping right on people just because they eat the same food. Do vegans really need to date other vegans, or can we co-habit with the meat people and just tut loudly every time they cremate animals in the oven or don't get all the bacon grease off the spatula?
None of these boys seemed to think the latter could work.
Some just couldn’t be arsed to have "The Talk" with new dates.
Others didn’t wanna swap spit and "dead animal juice".
While this dude just straight up isn’t turned on by animal cruelty.
PROBABILITY OF FINDING LOVE: Definitely, to be honest. There’s no shortage of people to date on Grazer, and they’re all super-keen to meet up and eat delicious vegan food. There are worse ways to spend your time.
So there we have it. Vegan dating is a lot like regular dating, except there’s the added bonus of having a major lifestyle choice in common. I like to think vegans being nice to the animals means they’d also be nicer to their significant others, but I know that's wildly optimistic.
Still, if "meat eater" is at the top of your deal breaker list, then the vegans are waiting, and now you know where to go.